By Physiotherapist: Rhys Veen.

Joint mobilisations are a hands-on treatment performed by a Physiotherapist. These are a safe treatment technique that involves the Physiotherapist stabilising one joint and applying pressure or traction to the joint above or below. This applied force is usually directed in a plane of motion that is very tight. Depending on the patient’s tolerance and the overall goals of the treatment, several different types of mobilisations can be used.

Sustained joint mobilisations: This is performed to reduce joint compression and stretch surrounding soft tissue. This mobilisation involves a pulling or traction held for a period of time.

Oscillatory joint mobilisations: This is performed to improve joint stiffness and tissue compliance. It involves a graded pressure to the soft tissue to what feels comfortable for you. The pressure will vary in speed and size of movement depending on the compliance of the tissue.

Manipulation: This is performed to reduce joint tightness. A high-speed thrust is applied to the joints in the direction of tightness which usually involves a breath in and out to relax the surrounding muscles.

The main goal of using joint mobilisation is to help decrease pain, improve range of motion and improve function. It is not exactly known why mobilisations help reduce pain or improve range of motion. Research believes it may be due too:

Eliciting a heightened response to your sympathetic nervous system or;

Nerves in the affected area to become less sensitive to mechanical pressure that would normally lead to soreness.

Joint mobilisations are shown to work for all joints of the body, in particularly for cervical, thoracic and lumbar joints. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Pfluegler, G., Kasper, J., & Luedtke, K. (2020). The immediate effects of passive joint mobilisation on local muscle function. A systematic review of the literature. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 45, 102106.